David Yow on the Jesus Lizard's American Express Ad and the Band's Future
Published Jul 11, 2013A series of American Express ads starring Carrie Brownstein of Portlandia, Sleater-Kinney and Wild Flag have appeared on TV recently, and a scene in a record store seemed to feature a snippet of the Jesus Lizard's "Mistletoe." While some fans allege the music has been treated in some way and others wondered if it was just a sound-alike, singer David Yow now confirms that it is indeed the Jesus Lizard's version of the song.
"We get these emails from our lawyer saying, 'Hey, these people want to use a song for whatever,'" Yow tells Exclaim! during a conversation about his new solo album, Tonight You Look Like a Spider. "I honestly don't remember saying 'yes' or 'no' or 'I don't like it' or 'I love it' to American Express, but I must have. It has to go through all four of us. Or, it could've been three of us said 'yeah' and I said 'no.' We're pretty democratic that way; I honestly don't remember."
Yow says that the band are often approached by TV shows and movies about using the Jesus Lizard's music, and he doesn't have much of a problem with those.
"Honestly, I am a little embarrassed that we have a song on an American Express commercial," Yow says. "But I'm not gonna let it bother me. I do think it's funny that they would choose that song. I mean God, I don't even like that song. It's hard to listen to. It never appealed to me very much."
The Jesus Lizard are playing an All Tomorrow's Parties show in Australia this October that was curated by the Breeders. Yow suggests there will also be tour dates in New Zealand, possibly in Japan and, for the first time in the band's history, South America as well.
This follows the band's acclaimed and prosperous 2009 're-enactment' tour with original drummer Mac McNeilly.
"It was so much fun, I couldn't believe it," Yow recalls. "It was great to hang out with them again and a much, much better time than I expected. Not to mention that I made more money in that year than I've ever made in my life, which is a really cool bonus."
The last proper studio album by the Jesus Lizard is 1998's Blue, and some members of the band have suggested that they'd love to write and record new material together. Is David Yow one of these members?
"No," Yow says flatly. "I don't have any musical desire right now at all. Even this solo record, I finished it six years ago. I don't have any drive for creating music. Doing the re-enactment shows, we're not creating anything. I think occasional music projects will come up — I did a few songs with Qui at the end of 2012 — but I don't really want to do music full, or even part time. I'm much more interested now in acting."
A coffee table photography/essay book about the Jesus Lizard is due out this in late October/early November via Akashic Books, and Yow mentions that there are written contributions from all four band members, along with Mike Watt, Fugazi's Guy Picciotto and more.
For now, you can pick up Yow's Tonight You Look Like a Spider via Joyful Noise and read Exclaim!'s full interview with Yow here.